13 year old Iona and ten year old Cameron have a little brother, James, who was born with a number of health and medical issues. Having a brother who is so unwell, has been very hard for Cameron. “It’s not like most of my friends who can go places, we can’t and when he is sick it’s really worrying, will he be OK?”
Iona helps her mum take care of James and for Iona, “I’ve got used to it now, we can’t do the same things that our friends do.” Iona would like more time with her mum, Keeley, but understands that she needs to care for James.
Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker Jayne helps out by taking Keeley and James to hospital appointments or by looking after Cameron and Iona. This allows the children to continue with their usual day despite having the worry of their little brother being in hospital. Jayne takes them to places that they can’t go with their mum and James, like the beach, the cinema or ice skating. Rainbow Trust also runs a number of sibling groups where siblings of sick children spend time together with children having similar experiences. Like all of us, being with people in similar circumstances helps us to feel more normal. At these groups, Iona says, “we talk about general stuff and about how other people manage having a sick sibling. They understand what it’s like for us.”
Keeley knows that both Cameron and Iona can talk to Jayne about things that they might not feel comfortable talking to her about for fear of upsetting her. They will tell Jayne when they are feeling worried or scared. Both children appreciate how much it has helped having Jayne to talk to, “It makes you feel better,” says Iona.
Without the groups, Iona thinks she’d feel, “more alone and nobody would understand what it’s like for us,” and with Jayne’s support, they can have some fun. “Sometimes we feel guilty for having fun but we can have fun with Jayne. It’d be really hard without Jayne and the groups.”
“Definitely choose Rainbow Trust,” says Cameron, “It’s more than just taking us to places we can’t go with mum, it lets us do kids’ stuff.”
“They are very thoughtful children and having James has made them more understanding and nicer children. Their life is not always ideal, but they have good life, they are well loved,” says mum. Cameron quickly adds “yeah, we are.”
Rainbow Trust would like to recruit and train more Sibling Support Workers like Jayne. Thank you for giving your support through Global Giving.